On losing a grandparent

Hello blog friends, it’s been a while.

It’s not that I haven’t had a lot to say (in fact quite the opposite), but I didn’t know where to begin. Since the beginning of the year, I’ve experienced an emotional roller coaster: spectacularly wonderful things, terribly sad things, and a few things in between.

You see, my appama (paternal grandmother) became ill at the very beginning of this year and passed away shortly thereafter. It hit me quite hard, because only a few months prior, we lost my ammama (maternal grandmother). It’s amazing how even the most rational of us can turn into emotional basket-cases at moments like this. Subconsciously, I think I tried to prepare myself for months before, knowing that they were getting older, and thinking positively about the long and fulfilling lives they’ve lived. But there are so many things that you just can’t prepare yourself for when the time comes. I was surprised by the rush of emotions that hit me, surging in from every direction. It’s funny how things you hadn’t thought of in years float to the surface. Even the feelings of loss I felt when my grandfathers passed away, 3 years ago and 15 years ago, respectively. It’s a strange feeling, realizing that you no longer have any grandparents left. One of those sum-is-greater-than-its-parts feelings.  As one of my uncles pointed out, we have lost a generation. In that respect, I was overcome with the strongest sense of finality. No more chances to hear their stories, no more chances to hear their wisdom. There are bits of history, and probably a few secrets too, that have gone with them.

But we move forward. First, by remembering the good times. In addition to all of the time spent together over the years, I will be eternally grateful to have had the opportunity to spend a month with my ammama, during my travels last year in Australia, and for the numerous visits I’ve had with my appama, stateside, since my return.  Second, by recognizing that those who have passed before us live on within the rest of us. Indeed, I find myself seeing pieces of my grandparents in my cousins, aunts, uncles, parents, and sister. And third, by the comfort of family and friends. My dear friend Candace has always had the the best outlook during times like this, envisioning all of her loved ones reuniting in the afterlife. So, in that spirit, I’d like to think that all four of my grandparents are catching up over a cup of tea, reminiscing about the old days back in Jaffna.

As is often the case in these situations, I am left with a new perspective, and I am once again reminded of what is really important in life. It is with a renewed sense of optimism and inspiration that I approach this new year. In putting all of these thoughts into words, I am able to close one door and open the next. As always, thank you for being a part of my journey. I have a feeling that 2013 has a lot of amazing things in store, and I look forward to the next adventure.

20 Comments on “On losing a grandparent”

  1. Love you, Kiki! Our sincerest condolences for you and your family’s losses. I know it can be very tough. We’re here for you!

  2. I know exactly how you feel. Yesterday marked two months since my Pop-Pop passed and I still cry everytime I think of him. I sit in the baby’s room and talk to him.. sometimes pray, ask him to watch over us. That’s what helps- knowing they are in a better place, watching over us. So sorry for your loss. Love you, Kiks.

    • Kristy, that is exactly what gets me through these situations! Like you, I too continue to pray for my grandparents and seek their guidance. xo

  3. Sorry to hear of your losses. I lost my father last summer and I agree that your head and thoughts are everywher for a while. I know it’s a cliche but times heals. Thye may be gone but never to be forgotten.

    • I’m sorry to hear of your loss as well. I can only imagine the heightened feelings that accompany the loss of a parent. I think you’re right in saying that time heals. Thanks for sharing your experience.

  4. Very sorry for your losses, Kiki. Death of a loved one is such a hard thing to process on so many levels and for so many reasons. I too have no grandparents left (although it’s been 14 years since my nan, who was the last one surviving, passed away). Your shift in perspective and optimism/drive for the year is a fabulous foundation from which to honour your grandparents… and fulfill some happy goals of your own.

    • Thank you for the kind words. I know that I’m lucky to have had them in my life for as long as I did. Like you said, I’ll do my best to honor them by making it a fruitful year!

  5. I’m really sorry for your loss. I know exactly how you feel. 2 months before my engagement, my grandmother (whom I grew up with) passed away… Right before my eyes. The emotions are truly something you simply cannot prepare yourself for before hand. And it’s nearly impossible to even describe how you feel at that very moment. I would say the same, to stay optimistic, but deep down, only time heals and it’s okay to feel sad.

  6. I haven’t replied to your post yet because I haven’t been able to figure out quite what to say. You know already how sorry I am for your loss and that I am thinking of you and your family. Thank you for writing this post. I’m sure it wasn’t easy to get through. I am so fortunate because I have yet to lose a grandparent. As they get older, I am preparing myself for the inevitability, but as you said, even when you know it’s coming, it is not easy. I hope I can hear their stories and learn their wisdom as much as possible before that day comes. And I like to think that your grandparents (and mine, eventually) are still guiding us through our lives from afar.

    • Thanks for taking the time to write this, J – it means a lot. I know it’s not always easy to come up with the right words to say. I like your thoughts about people still guiding us, even after they’ve passed. What a beautiful sentiment 🙂

  7. So sad to read about this. I only have one grandma left from my grandparents, and I’m really not looking forward to the day that she is going, even if she has prepared us for it for 10 years now! haha… Man. It’s still going to be really awful. Love and strength from Austria to you. 🙂

    • Thank you for your kind words, Tina. Trust me, I know exactly what you mean about the preparation vs. the way you feel when it actually happens! Hugs 🙂

  8. Hey Kavi I am so sorry for your loss. I pray that the great memories provide great comfort. Losing my grandmother 4years ago, who was the love of my life, was a heartbreaking moment for me so I feel your pain but then i think how lucky I was as you are to have had her for so many years. xoxo

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